“Contra A Copa”: The Brazilian People vs. FIFA World Cup
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and Brazil is the epicenter of fútbol fanatics. When FIFA chose Brazil to host the 2014 World Cup in 2007, the government was ecstatic to have the opportunity to impress the world with its beautiful scenery, people, and stadium architecture. You’d think the Brazilian people would be just as excited to host the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, but think again.
Starting in 2013, the country has been revolting against FIFA and the government in protest of hosting the World Cup. They’re protesting because there is a huge chunk of the Brazilian population that is homeless, hungry, and without health care and education.
VICE News put together a documentary titled Contra A Copa [Against the Cup], where journalists traveled to Brazil to document the anger, frustration, and desperation of the Brazilian people over hosting the World Cup.
The film shows the People’s Cup Camp in São Paulo, where over 4000 families live in scrappy tents in protest. One of the locals expressed his concerns (to say the least) about the country’s situation.
“There’s no money for education and they are spending millions on those stadiums that could have been spend on giving people places to live… Brazil is not ready to host the cup.”
Contra A Copa interviewed a gang member in Favela Rocinha, one of the many slums in Rio de Janeiro, who commented on the country’s new dynamic surrounding this World Cup. “You don’t see drawings on the walls, you don’t see the little flags all over like you used to. Brazil is a great country to host but when people are hungry and need hospitals… The other day on TV I saw a pregnant woman having a baby on the streets. She had the baby on the ground. And this just cannot happen, a country like Brazil so big that they can host the World Cup, they [the government] cannot allow things like that to happen.”
Yet they do. And instead of addressing the health care, education, and hunger problems, the FIFA government increased police force to counter protesters, built a $50 million “Command of Control Center”, and added surveillance cameras all over the towns surrounding the stadiums to monitor and prevent any illegal activity (i.e. riots). The film digs deeper into police brutality, excessive government spending, and the new bill for an anti-terror law that will find protesting punishable by 15-30 years in prison. Watch the full movie below.
The Tribune put together a slideshow of chilling photos taken during some of the many protests around Brazil. In addition to the riots and picketing, there are non-violent, silent protests in the form of graffiti and street art painted all around the country. The Guardian compiled some of the most powerful ones here.
Don’t get us wrong, the World Cup does some great things. It unites people over one common love, a love for soccer. However, nothing comes without consequence, and in the midst of media sensationalism over which teams are winning and Suarez’s latest meal, it’s important to remember the cost of our boundless entertainment.